Developing novel OMICs tools to identify the origin of ancient bio samples using ancient DNA

PhD position available in Eran Elhaik‘s group:

What percentage of our DNA came from the Vikings or Ancient Romans? How migration waves affected the environment? These and other questions can now be approached using ancient DNA and novel bioinformatics tools. Coupling Ancient DNA, which is one of the most exciting emerging fields in genetics, with tools, such as the Geographical Population Structure (GPS), which that can find one’s village of origin using our DNA (, we can make historical and evolutionary inferences.

The successful candidate will do some of the work in the ancient DNA lab in the University of York and in one of the world leading companies in DNA tests, located in Ohio (USA). The candidate will gain most valuable experience both in “wet lab” techniques and bioinformatics.

We are seeking an outstanding graduate students who is self-motivated and can work independently, with an enthusiasm for a mix of field, lab and computer based work. Because major parts of the project involve NGS data analyses, modelling, and programming, we are interested in applicants with strong mathematical, bio-statistical, and/or computational skills, interested in paleo-genomics and in developing expertise in bioinformatics, genomics, and biodiversity while developing ties with a major US DNA diagnostics company.
This is a very multidisciplinary project which provides multiple learning opportunities in various exciting and emerging fields. We place a strong emphasis on quantitative, analytical, and computational techniques, such as genomic modelling, bioinformatics, and a range of OMICs technologies. The successful candidates will spend about 6 months working in the Ancient DNA lab in York, learning how to sequence and assemble ancient genomes, and another 3 months in the US training with a DNA diagnosis company.

Funding Notes:

Fully funded for a minimum of 3.5 years, studentships cover: (i) a tax-free stipend at the standard Research Council rate (at least £13,863 per annum for 2015-2016), (ii) research costs, and (iii) tuition fees at the UK/EU rate. Studentships are available to UK and EU students who meet the UK residency requirements. Students from EU countries who do not meet residency requirements may still be eligible for a fees-only award.


This PhD project is part of the NERC funded Doctoral Training Partnership “ACCE” (Adapting to the Challenges of a Changing Environment). This is a partnership between the Universities of Sheffield, Liverpool, York and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.
Selection process: Shortlisting will take place as soon as possible after the closing date and successful applicants will be notified promptly. Shortlisted applicants will be invited for an interview to take place at the University of Sheffield on w/c 9th February 2015.

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